There is no shortage of interesting things to learn about the baby flamingo. This brightly-colored bird is one of the most astounding animals in the world. Did you know that a baby flamingo isn’t pink at birth? Keep reading to find out where they get their signature hue and much, much more! Let’s get started!
#1: A Baby Flamingo is Called a Flaminglet!
Since baby flamingos are birds, it probably comes as no surprise that they are sometimes called chicks. However, you might be surprised to learn that these tiny birds have a unique name: flaminglets!
#2: Baby Flamingos Get their Color from Milk!
It’s no secret that bright pink feathers are the baby flamingo’s most famous trait. However, these amazing creatures aren’t born with their signature hue. What’s interesting about their unique color is where it comes from: their mother’s milk! Let’s learn about this complex process and what it means for adult flamingos.
When baby flamingo chicks are born, they are almost completely white. As they consume their mother’s milk, their feathers gradually change color until their hallmark rosy hue is achieved. Once a baby flamingo is weaned from its mother’s milk, it maintains its pink feathers by consuming a diet that is high in alpha and beta carotenoid colors, which is also pink.
When a female flamingo nurses her young, she produces bright red milk. The proteins inside this milk are extracted from her body. So, what does this mean for the mother flamingo? The answer is simple: her feathers are drained of some color as long as she is nursing. This means that nursing flamingos are duller than the rest of their flock.
#3: Flaminglets Have Unique Beaks
Among the flamingo’s hallmark physical traits is their curved beak. However, you might be surprised to learn that baby flamingo chicks aren’t born with this feature. Instead, young flamingos have small, straight beaks. Scientists say that this is an evolutionary trait that allows them to nurse from their mothers, which would be impossible if they had a curved beak from birth.
Flaminglets’ beaks get larger and change shape slowly. By the time they are ready to be weaned from their mothers’ milk, they have matching curved beaks to their parents. But have you ever thought about what the curved beak does for a young flamingo and its parents? Let’s explore!
Since flamingos feed almost exclusively on small crustaceans and other water organisms, they must “filter feed” to stay strong and healthy. This means they turn their heads upside down and use their beaks to scoop mud. Then, they shake their heads from side to side to dispose of the mud, leaving their dinner behind.
Without their curved beaks, flamingos likely wouldn’t survive, since it would be too difficult for them to extract their prey from the muddy banks.
#4: Baby Flamingo Chicks Are Usually Singletons
Did you know that it is extremely rare for a female flamingo to bear more than one flaminglet at the same time? It’s true! Researchers say that a vast majority of flamingos are born as singletons. This makes it easier for flamingo parents to protect their unborn young from predators.
Baby flamingo chicks incubate in a large egg for anywhere from 27 to 31 days before hatching. Their nests are made of mud and can be up to 12 inches high! Consequently, flamingos typically mate during the rainy season, when mud is plentiful. Once the nest is built, male and female flamingos take turns roosting on their egg, keeping it warm until it’s time for the tiny new life to come into the world!
Baby flamingo chicks don’t leave their nests until they are about one week old. They spend this time gaining strength, drinking their parents’ crop milk, and biding their energy for the adventures to come. Once they venture away from the nest, they learn how to swim and hunt from the adults in their flocks.
#5: Flaminglets are Social Animals
Flamingos are some of the most social animals on Planet Earth. They travel in groups that vary in size and can be anywhere from two birds to thousands in a flock. There’s no doubt that parent flamingos have plenty of support when it comes to raising their young. In fact, the flock plays an active role in raising strong, independent adult flaminglets.
One of the major ways that a flamingo flock contributes to raising young flamingos is by teaching them to hunt. Baby flamingo chicks keep a close eye on the adult members of their family. Then, they mimic the actions of the adults, eventually learning everything they need to know for survival from them.
When flamingos live in captivity, they need social interaction to thrive. Consequently, exotic animal owners, animal sanctuaries, and zoos always make sure to have at least two flamingos at a time.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is a baby flamingo called?
Like most other birds, a baby flamingo can be called a chick. More specifically, though, a baby flamingo is called a flaminglet.
How much do baby flamingos weigh?
Flaminglets are tiny animals, weighing in anywhere from 115 and 140 grams at birth. They can measure anywhere from 49 to 55 millimeters long.
What do baby flamingos eat?
Baby flamingo chicks survive on their parents’ crop milk for the first month of their lives. After that, they enjoy a diet of crustaceans and other underwater organisms and plants.
Where do baby flamingos live?
Baby flamingo chicks live in tropical and subtropical climates. They are mainly found on the coastlines of South America, Africa, and Asia.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.